The Name
CHAPTER
1
Case 1, part 1
Lisa Bravo stood in the corner of the crowded room, holding a glass of white wine. Taking a small sip, she turned to the tall twenty-five year old man standing next to her. “Matt, you should go enjoy yourself,” she said. “This is a party. Have a brownie or something.”
Matt sighed, “No. Sorry, Lisa.”
“You act like there’s going to be a murder tonight,” Lisa said, frowning.
Matt crossed his arms. “There might be.”
Lisa rolled her eyes. “It’s the Executive Board’s annual party for our little community of Little-Town. Won’t you at least have some fun?”
“No.”
Lisa huffed and shoved her glass cup into Matt’s hands. “Then take this. I’ll be back in a little bit.”
She disappeared into the crowd. Matt sighed. A man wearing a stiff grey tuxedo walked toward him, adjusting his glasses. “Well, Detective Echo. I haven’t seen you in a while.”
Matt held out his hand and shook the other man’s hand firmly. “Neither have I, sir. Detective Matt Echo at your service. Mr?”
“Pole. Eli Pole. Senior director of the Board,” the man said.
“Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Pole,” Matt said, smiling.
The man glanced over his shoulder. “Who was that lovely lady you were talking to?”
“One of my associates – Junior Detective Lisa Bravo. She’s basically my apprentice,” Matt answered.
“Ah, I see,” Mr. Pole said, smiling.
He looked over his shoulder and his smile melted into a frown. A woman with thick blond hair wearing a blue knee-length dress walked toward him, sporting white heels and a pearl necklace. Her lips were dark purple. Mr. Pole cleared his throat. “Well, it was nice talking to you, Detective. I’ll see you later.”
He walked away quickly. Matt frowned, and looked at the woman. “What was that about?” he asked.
The woman shrugged. “Oh, Mr. Pole dislikes me too much. Says I’m too fake. Says I have a special ability of making people dislike me. But he’s just being rude, you know?”
She smiled, revealing straight white teeth. “I’m Miss Mia Kilo, one of the newest members of the Board.”
She extended her neck in a manner of pride, though to Matt it looked like she was trying to imitate a goose. Miss Kilo turned around and looked around the room. “This is a swell party going on. The Board knows how to arrange one.”
“Excuse me – arrange what?”
“A party such as this!” Miss Kilo said, laughing.
She leaned closer to Matt. “I just wish that woman who arranged it didn’t invite herself. I wonder why she even invited me!”
Matt frowned. “Why?”
“She and I haven’t been on the best terms lately. I dislike her immensely. She says I’m a chatty person and that I don’t watch my mouth when I talk. She also says that she agrees with Mr. Pole. I do very much dislike her,” Miss Kilo said, muttering under her breath.
“Who’s this woman you don’t like?” Matt asked. “Surely not Mrs. Lucy Stone. She’s a good-natured person and she is an important person in the Board.”
“Oh, it’s that Mrs. Stone all right. We can’t even stand the sight of each other. I can’t stand to see her especially. She’s so flamboyant. Oh no, here she comes,” Miss Kilo muttered.
A woman wearing a bright ombré dress walked toward them. Her blond hair was pulled back into a bun decorated with silver beads. A silver ring was on her finger with a large diamond decorating it. She stopped in front of Miss Kilo, and her pink lips pulled down into a frown. “Well, hello... Miss Kilo,” she said, hesitating for a moment before forcing her mouth into a smile. “And hello Detective Echo. Where’s your partner?”
“She said she’d be coming back soon,” Matt said slowly. “This is a great party, Mrs. Stone.”
Mrs. Stone nodded. “It is. My husband is having the time of his life here.”
She glanced at Miss Kilo. “Though it seems as though someone is turning the party sour now.”
“Yes. You,” Miss Kilo replied.
Mrs. Stone’s nose twitched. “I now regret inviting you to come.”
Miss Kilo huffed, “Then I’ll leave. This party is too flamboyant and petty for my taste – just like you.”
Mrs. Stone gasped, “Did you just call me petty, Miss Chatterbox?”
“I’m not a chatterbox!” Miss Kilo exclaimed. “And I’ll thank you to remember that, Miss Fancy-Fingers!”
“What?” Mrs. Stone asked, her eyes narrowing dangerously.
“Yes. Who else in this whole community has a fancy ring like yours? No one!” Miss Kilo snapped. “Good-night!”
She shoved her way through the crowd and out of the house. Mrs. Stone crossed her arms. “Well I never. Ever since that woman joined the Board, she’s been a pain! Her incessant chattering and her-”
She groaned, turned around, and disappeared into the crowd. A few minutes later, Lisa reappeared. She held a paper plate with a few brownies and a couple small slices of cake. Two forks were laying on top. Lisa smiled. “Here. Enjoy.”
Matt sighed and picked up a brownie with his fingers. It was slightly overdone, so it was like a cookie on the outside. He took a bite. Lisa looked around. “I smell perfume.”
“That’s probably from Mrs. Stone or Miss Kilo, who’s one of the newest members of the Board. They were here and talked with me,” Matt said, swallowing.
“I heard raised voices coming from over here when I was choosing the food. Did they fight?” Lisa asked.
“Yep,” Matt answered.
“Knew it,” Lisa said, taking a small bite of a brownie.
She swallowed quickly. “Did you talk to Mark Hedge yet?”
“The Head of the Board? No, he hasn’t shown up here yet. Actually, he called me and said he was going to visit Miss Kilo later tonight. He said he had some private business to discuss with her,” Matt said.
He heard laughing nearby. Looking up, he saw Mrs. Stone walking toward him. “Hello, Detective! Glad you’re here for the party!”
Matt frowned. “Mrs. Stone? I thought you left.”
“Now why would I leave this party? That’s just not right!” Mrs. Stone said, her face blank.
Then, a look of realization came over her. “Oh, now I remember. I’m sorry. In times of stress I sometimes have an episode of amnesia and forget things. I’m so sorry.”
She smirked, “Well, I’ll leave you two alone now. I’m going to do the pies-in-the-face game we set up. We’re going to be pieing people who volunteered for the game.”
Mrs. Stone turned to a woman wearing a suit. “Ma’am, would you mind holding my ring for me when I play. I never like to get it dirty. I’m trusting you with it because I might forget it after the game.”
The woman nodded. “All right, Mrs. Stone.”
She held Mrs. Stone’s ring in her hand and followed the woman to the pies-in-the-face game in the back corner of the room.
She turned around and walked off. Lisa glanced at Matt. “Well, it’s almost midnight. We’d better be leaving soon. This party is going to end soon anyway. We can drop by Miss Kilo’s house and give her some desserts to make her feel better. We can look up her address in the Board directory.”
Matt nodded. “Sure. Then I’ll drop you off at your house.”
“Good. Let’s go,” Lisa said.
They pulled up outside a large house. Lisa stared out her window at it. “The lights are out.”
Matt unbuckled himself and began to open his door when Lisa stopped him with a tight grip on his shoulder. “Wait.”
She pointed outside. “Look. Someone’s coming.”
A car pulled up in front of them. Someone tall climbed out and walked to the front door. They easily opened it and disappeared inside into the darkness. A few minutes later, someone was seen running out to the car. They climbed in and sped off. While they were driving off, another car drove from the shadows out after them.
Matt frowned. “That’s strange.”
He climbed out of the car. Lisa followed him. She held a flashlight. Turning it on, she pointed it at the house. “They left the door open.”
Matt started into the house. He reached for the light switch and flipped it up. Nothing lit up. Matt’s eyes narrowed. “That’s strange.”
Lisa swung the flashlight around the room. “Hello? Miss Kilo?”
She pointed the flashlight at the ground and stifled a scream. A knife blade stuck out of the ground no less than a foot away from her. Matt took a deep breath. “Try not to touch anything.”
He started walking deeper into the house, Lisa next to him. Matt noticed a large rolled up blanket ahead of them. “Watch out for the blanket.”
He stepped over it. Lisa suddenly stumbled over it, landing on the floor next to it. She screamed. A pale arm stuck out of the blanket. Matt knelt next to Lisa. Lisa put a hand to her heart and backed away. Matt grabbed the flashlight from her and pointed it at the blanket. “Someone’s rolled up in this.”
He gently pulled at the blanket. The blanket unrolled. Lisa’s heart pounded against her chest. “Miss Kilo!” she gasped.
Miss Kilo lay on the floor. One hand of hers was clutched around a bloody knife embedded in her stomach. Lisa grasped Matt’s arm. “She’s dead.”
Matt nodded. He pointed the flashlight around the room. Something red was written on the wall. Matt stood and walked toward it. It was the name, ‘Lucy’ on the wall. And the ink used to scrawl that name was blood.
So, readers. Just by reading this chapter so far... who murdered Miss Kilo? Who did it?

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